Ticketholders for the cancelled inaugural Formula E motorsports race in Vancouver say they’re worried they won’t get their money back, amid radio silence from the event’s organizers.
The event, which would have been the first to bring electric motorsports to the city, was originally scheduled for the Canada Day long weekend.
Organizers the One Stop Strategy Group abruptly cancelled the race in April, saying the event would return in 2023. But last month, organizers with the Formula E circuit cut all contracts with the OSS group and dropped Vancouver form the provisional 2023 calendar.
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An estimated 30,000 tickets had already been sold for the event when it was cancelled.
Ticketholder Larry Sewell told Global News he spent over $100 on a pair of tickets for his nephew.
He said his last contact with organizers was on May 9 — an email saying the event was being postponed to 2023.
“Very shortly after that — nothing. I think I’ve sent three, four emails off, I’ve left probably three voicemails, and heard nothing back. It gets pretty frustrating,” he said.
“I actually asked my nephew one night, I said to him, ‘What do you want me to do? Do you want me to cancel the tickets and maybe buy you hockey tickets?’ And he said, ‘Oh I’ll go next year Uncle Larry.’ Well about two days after I talked to him about it, the thing came up on TV saying 2023 was not going to happen.”
Donald Herbert Weber spent $700 on four tickets for the event, and that while received a few responses to attempts to contact organizers, the group has since “gone completely silent,” he said.
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“They said they would be refunding if people didn’t wish to participate in a future event, and I chose not to participate in a future event and I asked for my money back. they said well, perhaps in July or early 2022 you might see some money,” he said.
“I’m not going to let my $700 sit there in their pocket, I’d like to have it back, thank you.”
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Weber said he was concerned the company had gotten itself into a “pyramid structure” in which it was counting on future revenues to pay back outstanding debts.
He said the experience has left him with little interest in attending a future event, and reticence about buying any tickets in advance.
In a statement through its public relations company, the OSS group said it “will not be providing an update at this time.”
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“They will reach out to media & other stakeholders when they have all in place. In order to make sure the process is precise, timelines cannot be rushed,” reads the statement.
Last month, the company maintained it was working to get permits in place to still hold a 2023 race event, despite the severing of contracts with Formula E.
In its own statement last month, Formula E said it expected the OSS group to process refunds for fans, and that it was still interested in eventually staging a Vancouver event.
“We retain active interest in delivering an E-Prix in Vancouver in the future,” it wrote.
“Formula E is mindful that many fans have purchased tickets to the Canadian E-Fest, which included the Vancouver E-Prix, from OSS Group. We expect OSS Group to ensure that it proceeds to a full refund of these tickets and to provide details on this process in the short term.”
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